Charitable Giving At Any Level

December 15, 2017

As the year ends, you might be thinking about making a financial gift to your old school, or a church or charity.  We have pulled together a brief list of some of the more common gifts we have seen used.

Partnership gifts. These gifts are made via long-term arrangements between donors and recipient charities or non-profits, usually with annuity-style income coming to the donor and an eventual transfer of the principal to the charity at the donor’s death. A charitable remainder trust also allows you to pay yourself a dependable income (typically for life) and then distribute the remaining trust principal to charity. A charitable lead trust offers you the potential to reduce gift and estate taxes on assets passing to your heirs by making annual charitable gifts; your beneficiaries get the leftover trust assets at the end of your life or the specified trust term. You could even name a charitable life income arrangement as the beneficiary of your IRA.

You might opt to invest some of your assets in a pooled income fund offered by a university or charity. Your gifted assets go into a “pool” of assets invested by a fund manager; you get a pro rata share of the income of the fund for life, and when your last income beneficiary passes away, the principal of your gift goes to the school or charity. If you like the idea of a family foundation, you could consider setting up a donor-advised fund. You make an irrevocable contribution to a third-party fund, realizing an immediate tax deduction; the fund invests the money in an account you create. You advise the fund where the money goes and how it grows, but the fund makes the actual grants to nonprofits.

Lifetime gifts. These are charitable gifts in which the donor retains no powers or other controls over the gift once it is made. A lifetime gift of this sort is not included in what the IRS calls your Gross Estate (but typically taxable gifts are used in calculation of estate tax).  Lifetime gifts also include outright gifts of cash or appreciated assets such as stocks or real estate. A gift of appreciated stock could possibly bring you a charitable deduction to lower your income tax, and help you avoid capital gains tax linked to the sale of the appreciated shares. Through a gift of appreciated property, you can even transfer a real estate deed to a school or charity. You could even consider a retained life estate, in which you deed your home to a charity or non-profit while retaining the right to live in it as your primary residence for the rest of your life.

Estate gifts. These are deferred gifts you make after your lifetime, without impact on your current lifestyle. You can make a bequest to a charity through your will or a living trust without incurring estate taxes on the gift amount. A gift of life insurance to a university or charity can give you an immediate income tax deduction for the cash surrender value of a paid-up policy, and possible future deductions. You can also make an IRA gift or retirement plan gift effective upon your death, with the non-profit organization receiving some or all of the assets as you wish.

The caveats. As your income increases, you may face limits on the amount of charitable gifts you can deduct.  Keep in mind that your unique circumstances need to be weighed before making any decision. As with all tax and estate planning, we recommend discussing that with us to affirm that you are in a position to fully benefit from charitable deductions.

At HFG Wealth Management, we embrace a method of financial planning known as Financial Life Planning™. We believe this is a financially effective and personally rewarding approach to creating a practical, lasting financial plan. As financial professionals using the life planning approach, our purpose is to assist individuals and families in creating a long-term vision that is consistent with their core values. At HFG we recognize that life events and life transitions can impact your financial responsibilities and your vision of the future. We are here to provide you with tips and strategies to get you started and help you reach your financial and life goals at every stage. For more information, please visit or call 832.585.0110.

“The information contain herein is general in nature and may not be suitable for everyone. We encourage you to give us a call, to discuss your specific situation and to help determine the appropriate course of action.”



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